Mali is going through a civil crisis.
The French Government has solicited the cooperation of Nigeria in ending the lingering crisis in Mali, Jean Palanon, France Special Envoy to Nigeria, has said.
Mr. Palanon, who disclosed this on Thursday to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House, Abuja, said that Nigeria’s assistance was crucial to ending the crises in Mali.
“The adoption of resolution 20/85 at the Security Council opened a new face in the handling of the Mali crisis,” he said.
“The French President wished to crave a very strong signal that the cooperation between France and Nigeria was essential to finding solutions to the Mali crisis.
“When it comes to the practicalities, as you know we are now embarking on double track approach which, in fact, was suggested by ECOWAS, a political and military approach, and we must ensure that the two progress on balance,” the envoy added.
Mr. Palanon said that the meeting with Mr. Jonathan discussed extensively how to accelerate the political process in stabilising and finding the best way to a smooth transition in Mali.
He said they also discussed the agreement between the North and the South as well as the political process.
On the military side, he said that the two countries discussed how to implement resolution 20/85 with ECOWAS, “while Nigeria plays the frontal role”.
“We are in the business of implementing resolution 20/85, which is first of all, to redouble efforts to bring about a political solution in Bamako and an agreement between the North and the South.
“It is also to ensure the earliest possible deployment of the African force which will come in support of the Malian Armed Forces. There were three resolutions adopted by the Security Council; they were adopted by consensus with the support of all regional and sub-regional organisations,” the envoy said.
Mr. Palanon added, “these things are complex; you cannot build a military operation of that magnitude in a fortnight. Earlier, the Minister of Foreign Affairs II, Nurudeen Mohammed, said that the meeting was principally on the crisis in Mali.
Mr. Mohammed said the meeting looked at ways where the two countries could come together, rob minds and achieve convergence of opinion with a view to finding solutions to the problem.